Bob’s Banter: Can You See the Child Inside?


TEARS ARE NOT ENOUGH...Street children in New Delhi. --Reuters photo.
Your tears are not enough. Street children in New Delhi. –Reuters photo.

Why are the world’s purse strings grudgingly opened when it comes to giving for less fortunate children?


[dropcap]P[/dropcap]EOPLE donate for the blind, they give generously towards old age homes and orphanages, but it is difficult having them part so liberally with their money towards charities or NGOs who work for the mentally challenged.

I pondered on this as I drove back that evening: I had seen the sterling work done by the Indian Council of Mental Health, led by Zarir Master, had interviewed parents and even seen the tremendous affection displayed between teachers, supportive staff and students. I had noticed smiles on the faces of these children as they went through a session of animal therapy, and even laughter and happiness as they found people who finally understood them.

I had seen lives being changed, but I drove home puzzled.

Puzzled that the world’s purse strings were closed or grudgingly opened: That when it came to giving for these unfortunate children, they were reluctant.

And then it hit me; they could not see!

They saw a misshapen head, quite often the result of a wrongly used pair of forceps during birth. They saw an adult acting like a child. They heard monstrous sounds. They were repulsed by convulsions, disgusted by childish behavior, sickened by erratic movements.

As I drove back that day, I heard a child cry; I stopped the car, and watched: A young mother soothing a wailing baby: Nobody objected, she was at a bus stop, her husband next to her.

People looked at the child with sympathy, some even gave advice. Then I watched the father picking the child from it’s mother’s arms. He held the baby with deep affection, he gently rocked the child and lil’ baby stopped crying; there was a smile on everyone’s face at that bus stop.

And then I saw another baby in my mind’s eye: He was fourteen, looked adult: He cried, he threw his adult arms in a tantrum, and people looked away hurriedly.

“No!” I cried as my driver looked at me in surprise, “That’s a baby!”

“Who sir?” he asked.

“All those children we saw today; each one of them is a baby in an adult’s body!”

I looked at the father gently rubbing the baby’s back, I watched the mother looking lovingly at her child, and I realized what needed to be said to society in general, before they looked away from a child who was mentally challenged, “Open your eyes sir, look deep inside. Can you see the child inside?”

Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.


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